Rurality, socio-economic disadvantage and educational mobility: a Scottish case study

Daniel Borbely, Markus Gehrsitz, Stuart McIntyre, Gennaro Rossi, Graeme Roy

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Rurality is known to be associated with a number of weaker educational outcomes, from lower attainment through to lower social mobility. This is why so much policy and practitioner focus has been directed at addressing the rurality gap in educational outcomes. In this paper, we use pupil-level data for Scotland to contribute to two dimensions of this problem. First, we explore the relationship between socio-economic deprivation and educational mobility across urban and rural primary schools in Scotland. This provides new insights on the issue of rural disadvantage. Second, we use our dataset to explore the socio-economic makeup of urban and rural schools in Scotland, documenting that schools located in the highest and lowest SIMD areas are more homogeneous than those in the middle. This is important for the classification of schools in targeting educational interventions to improve social mobility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Early online date25 Sept 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sept 2023


  • educational mobility
  • primary education
  • rurality
  • socio-economic disadvantage


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